Post-sale follow-up is important because it extends your value past the point of sale. Most sales reps know this and use this time to answer questions and extend offers of any customer service that might be needed. But, there is something else that can be done that can help you in the long run. “Go visit your new customers a few months after they purchased…and well after they have deployed it…,” writes Peter Cohan for Customer Think. “Ask them, ‘How are you using our software? What use cases have you implemented? What value are you receiving?’” The answers you receive can be extremely valuable.
Use your post-sale follow-up for future success
Many reps will keep in contact with prospects after they buy, but not many inquire as to exactly how their product or service is being used. Despite the value of this knowledge, reps just don’t think to ask questions during post-sale follow ups that reveal the actual value clients are experiencing. As Cohen explains, “Many vendors complete ‘win/loss’ analyses every quarter, but the major focus is on ‘why we won the deal’ or ‘why we lost.' Both analyses focus on the mechanics of the deal-making and closing process, neither provides reference or success stories that support future sales..”
But, digging deeper into things like how clients are using the product or service, which specific capabilities are solving their problems and the specific value they’re receiving can create excellent opportunities. What kind of opportunities? “You’ll capture success stories and establish references that help you make your next sale, secure renewals, expand deployment into existing customers, and possibly open new markets,” Cohen explains.
These post-sale follow-up questions typically uncover two types of use case among clients:
- Use cases your customer has deployed that you and they expected to implement.
- Use cases your customer has created that were unexpected or unanticipated at the time of purchase — but were discovered and implemented by customers on their own.
Cohen goes on to differentiate these two useful bits of insight and explains how you can use each.
When seeking to uncover expected use information, Cohen encourages reps to ask questions like the following when the conversation begins:
- What use case(s) did you deploy?
- Who are the current users and how many?
- What value, in terms of time, people, or money, have you gained as a result?
Then, it’s time to get into the specifics, drilling down to deeper insight that will paint a picture of just how your product or service was expected to perform and how it met those expectations. Post-sale follow-up details to seek out include:
- Pain points that existed prior to purchase
- Who was affected, including their job position and responsibilities
- How they were dealing with the issue(s) prior to purchase
- What capabilities they wanted from a solution
- If there was a critical time or date that a solution needed to be in place by
- What value has been gained, such as time saved, money earned, employees redeployed, etc.
These post-sale follow-up findings will reveal exactly how the client expected to use your product or service, the results that they expected to get, and the tangible value they received. On Wednesday, October 28, my next post will cover the rest of Cohan’s discussion, including how to uncover unexpected use, as well as when it’s the best time to ask these post-sale follow up questions.